Walk Two Moons | Study Guide

Sharon Creech

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Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Aug. 2017. Web. 20 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/>.

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Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed September 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

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Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed September 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

Walk Two Moons | Chapters 7–8 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 7: Ill-ah-no-way

Gramps, Gram, and Sal leave Indiana and enter Illinois. Sal feels homesick when she hears the way Gramps mispronounces "Illinois," just like people in Kentucky do. At Gram's request they pull over and cool off with a swim in Lake Michigan. That night, in a motel outside Chicago, Sal feels impatient and is consumed by memories of the past.

Sal had always felt the same emotions as her mother, "like a mirror." After Sugar left Sal "didn't know how to feel." Two weeks after Sugar's departure, Sal felt happy watching a newborn calf. At that moment, she realized she could "be happy without her."

They resume driving the following day, taking the same route as the tourist bus that took Sugar to Lewiston, Idaho. They will pass quickly through Wisconsin and Minnesota before stopping to see the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota. Sal doesn't "like the sound of either of those places." After that, they will pass through Wyoming and Montana before reaching Idaho.

Chapter 8: The Lunatic

Gram and Gramps discuss whether Gloria had "a hankering" for Gramps a long time ago. Sal resumes her story.

Before she and Sal leave to visit Mary Lou Finney, Phoebe follows her mother's instructions to double-check the locks on the doors and windows. The doorbell rings, and Phoebe fears the nervous-looking young man outside is a lunatic—something her mother is afraid of. The young man asks to see Mrs. Winterbottom. Privately Phoebe asks Sal whether she "detect[s] any signs of lunacy" in the visitor, and Sal says she does not. Phoebe lies to the visitor, saying the house is full of people and that she didn't realize Mrs. Winterbottom had left. He asks Phoebe's name and whether Mrs. Winterbottom is her mother before declining to leave a message and walking away. Phoebe and Sal run to Mary Lou's house because Phoebe thinks "the young man [is] going to ambush" them.

Analysis

In these chapters, the extent to which Phoebe lives in fear of the world around her becomes apparent. She has learned this fear from her unhappy, anxious mother. Part of Sal's role in the friendship is to comfort her anxious friend and reassure her that her fearful thoughts are unfounded. Like Phoebe, Sal was also a mirror for her mother's emotions. However, when Sal loses her mother she realizes she is capable of having her own emotions and reactions to life. Unlike Sal, Phoebe still lives with her mother—and so she continues to internalize her mother's fears of the unknown.

For example Phoebe assumes the stranger must be a lunatic, despite his calm, polite, non-intrusive demeanor. Neither the reader nor the characters know who the stranger is, but it is clear that he has some significant business with Mrs. Winterbottom. The reader may also wonder whether he is a mysterious part of Mrs. Winterbottom's past that is now resurfacing—and if he has any connection to Mrs. Winterbottom's unhappiness and dissatisfaction with her present life.

Throughout the text, the past is ever present. Sal and her grandparents are retracing the exact route previously traveled by Sugar. Sal entertains her grandparents by telling a long story about what happened to Phoebe in the past. When she isn't telling the story, she is reliving memories or feeling homesick for Kentucky. Her grandparents frequently discuss Gloria, a woman they knew long ago. Phoebe's fears of the unknown indicate a fear of the future, which is unimaginable and therefore dangerous. Grounded in her own personal and familial history, Sal experiences no such fears. Instead, she finds meaning by constantly sifting through the past.

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